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Tue, August 20, 2013

A great voice is silenced

Monday, August 19th, 2013 will be remembered as the worst day of my professional life.  That’s the day I found out that my friend and colleague, Paul Michaels, had died.

Monday started like any other day.  Up at 3 a.m., at the radio station by 4.  Within minutes of arriving, all of us on the morning crew are greeted by Paul’s signature, “Goooooood morning.”  At about 4:10 I asked Gary Edwards if he had seen Paul.  He had not.  I looked out the back door to see if Paul’s car was in its usual spot.  It was not.  I checked my schedule to see if I had forgotten vacation days Paul had requested.  No vacation.  I said out loud, “This is not good.”  Gary called Paul’s cell phone, which went to voice mail.  I tried again a few minutes later.  My call went to voice mail too.  My bad feeling got worse.

After consulting with our general manager, I called the Black Hawk County Dispatch Center and requested a welfare check.  A short time later, Waterloo police officers forced their way through Paul’s front door.  He was found lying on his couch.  My guess is Paul died sometime late Saturday or early Sunday.

Paul Michaels was a unique talent.  He had a passion for radio.  That passion inspired others.  His enthusiasm was contagious.  I’m fairly certain Paul had no idea how many lives he’s touched.  I’m not sure I fully realized it until he was gone.  Since Monday, I’ve received dozens of phone calls, emails, texts and Facebook messages.  To a person, what people remembered most about Paul were his ever-present smile and his laugh.  It was a great belly laugh.  Just thinking about it makes me smile.

Paul’s passing has left a void in our building.  Our broken hearts will heal.  We may find another person to do Paul’s job, but Paul will never be replaced.  He was that special.  All of us who worked with Paul are better people for it.

Rest in peace, my friend.  You’ll be missed.  You are missed.

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